Hybrid classrooms can lead schools to success

(TNS) – For the first time since the fall of 2019, back to school truly means back to school for students in local districts and neighboring colleges – but with a wholesome asterisk.

This year, many Yakima Valley students have the opportunity to take hybrid courses. Some days classes will be in person, some days they will be online. Fully online options are also available.

The approach on campuses is similar to what happens in many offices and other workplaces. Bosses across the country are finding that some employees have come to prefer a mix of in-person and remote work.

This dramatic reset began as a health precaution at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of course. But all those months of working from home and taking online classes seem to have sparked fundamental societal change.

No one should be surprised. For generations, Americans have dutifully shown up to work on rigid schedules, giving up time with family, pets, or the freedom to take an impromptu walk on an unexpectedly beautiful winter morning.

Now, after years of grand visions of how technology would one day make our lives simpler and easier, we realize that, hey, it really is possible.

There is no doubt that grants are already pouring in for studies to better define and predict how this change will affect the workplace in the long term. But you don’t have to be a graduate student to understand that people prefer to work at their own pace on their own terms.

Moms like it. Dads like it. And yes, we predict schools will find the kids love it too.

The hybrid approach seems particularly promising for students. As we have seen, isolation exposes children to a range of serious social and mental difficulties. They need to be surrounded by other children to develop and learn naturally.

That’s why the past few years have had such an impact on young people, contributing to some of the lowest test scores we’ve seen in years.

The hybrid approach, however, will put students back in closer contact with their peers and teachers, making face-to-face communication – and learning moments – readily available again.

As Dodie Forrest, an English teacher at Yakima Valley College, explained to Vanessa Ontiveros of YH-R: “I really like being present with the students; I feel like there’s a really good energy and synergy there.”

At the same time, hybrid planning will also allow for a fair amount of flexibility.

We commend schools that take the hybrid approach – it seems long overdue.

We will be surprised if by this time next year school performance has not improved as much as work productivity under the hybrid approach.

Editorials in the Yakima Herald-Republic reflect the collective opinion of the newspaper’s local editorial board.

© 2022 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Washington). Distributed by Content Agency Tribune, LLC.

Norma A. Roth